The US is reportedly concerned that Russia could play spoilsport and facilitate Iran in avoiding sanctions by purchasing oil and then reselling it in the global market.
The US is set to reimpose sanctions on 4 November with an aim to halt Tehran’s oil exports.
The Trump administration decided to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear pact, which provided relief to Tehran from sanctions. Russia has been opposed to the decision of reimposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports and withdrawing from the multilateral pact, in which China, the UK, France, Germany and EU were also signatories.
Following US decision to reimpose sanctions, its officials are now trying to convince other countries to cut oil trade ties with Iran. They believe that Iran is exploring other supply channels to evade the impact of sanctions, according to the Financial Times.
A senior administration official was quoted by the financial publication as saying: “Iran might be pushing the idea of Russia selling their oil on the world market to evade sanctions.
“I would discourage Russia from even considering this. It would be in Russia’s best interests not to facilitate Iranian evasion of US sanctions.”
This warning was issued just as the Trump administration’s national security adviser John Bolton is set to meet his Russian counterpart in Moscow next week. Bolton would also visit Azerbaijan, which shares borders with Iran.
US officials have been visiting countries that are Iran’s key oil consumers, including India, Japan and South Korea in an effort to make them halt their imports.
The department spokesperson stated: “Our goal remains to get to zero oil imports from Iran as quickly as possible, ideally by 4 November.”
The recent weeks have seen US officials preparing to provide special reduction exemptions to some oil consumers of Iran. This has increased the likelihood of Iran continuing its oil exports to countries that indicate they have reduced the total oil consumption from Tehran.
A state department spokesperson told the Financial Times: “The United States is in the midst of an internal process to consider SRE waivers for individual countries.”
The spokesperson further added: “We are prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis.”